Council for Citizens Against Government Waste State Ballot Measure Guide | Council For Citizens Against Government Waste

Council for Citizens Against Government Waste State Ballot Measure Guide

The WasteWatcher

Voters across America will be considering ballot initiatives on November 3, 2020.  The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste has taken a position for or against the following measures: 

Sports Betting

After the Supreme Court found the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992 to be unconstitutional in its 7-2 ruling in Murphy v. NCAA in May 2018, states were free to determine whether to legalize sports betting.  With the potential for half of the states to allow sports betting by the end of 2020, the benefits of the Murphy decision are becoming clear.  States have already shown that they can generate revenue and safely manage sports betting. 

Louisiana Sports Betting Parish Measures
CCAGW Position: Support

In the past, the Louisiana legislature has attempted to pass sports betting laws, including 2019, when a bill to legalize fantasy sports was vetoed by the governor.  Another bill that died on the last day of the session would have allowed sportsbooks for race casinos and race tracks on the ballot in November 2019.  In 2020, the legislature finally passed a bill to allow voters to decide whether individual parishes should legalize sports wagering.  On the ballot, voters in each of the state’s 64 parishes will see the following question: “Shall sports wagering activities and operations be permitted in the parish of (individual parish name)?”

Maryland Question 2
CCAGW Position: Support

Question 2 passed the Maryland legislature as Senate Bill 5 in March 2020.  If Question 2 is approved, the legislature would determine how sports betting would be implemented some time in 2021 at the six casinos located in the state.  The ballot asks:  “Do you approve the expansion of commercial gaming in the State of Maryland to authorize sports and event betting for the primary purpose of raising revenue for education?”

South Dakota Constitutional Amendment B 
CCAGW Position: Support

The South Dakota legislature approved SJR 501 in March 2020, which added a ballot measure to let voters decide whether sports betting should be legalized in the city of Deadwood, the only jurisdiction in the state that is allowed to have gambling.  If the Constitutional Amendment B passes, the legislature will determine how sports betting will be implemented in the 2021 session.  The South Dakota Legislative Research Council’s December 19, 2018 fiscal analysis estimated that “adjusted gross revenue for overall gaming action in Deadwood is expected to be $100,546,650.”  The net proceeds from sports gaming would be provided to the Deadwood Historic Restoration and Preservation Fund.

Gig Economy

In September 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom (D) signed Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5), which extends the classification of employees to workers across many professions that previously had been considered as independent contractors. 

California Proposition 22 
CCAGW Position: Support

Many of these employees work for app-based delivery and transportation companies like DoorDash, Instacart, Lyft, and Uber.  Californians will have a chance to help app-based drivers regain their independence by approving Proposition 22, which would classify them as independent contractors and therefore exempt them from AB 5. 

Tobacco Tax

Tobacco tax increases are sold to citizens as a way to reduce smoking and raise revenue  to improve public and individual health.  But cigarette excise taxes are among the most regressive taxes and therefore have the most adverse and disproportionate impact on people with low incomes.  States often use the revenue wastefully; people in high-tax states go to other states to purchase tobacco products where taxes are lower, which cause states with these high taxes to lose revenue, and the high taxes create the opportunity for black market products that may lead to problems similar to those that occurred in 2019 when illicit vaping products, which contained vitamin E acetate, caused severe lung damage; along with significant national security issues. 

Colorado Proposition EE
CCAGW Position: Oppose

In June 2020, the Colorado legislature voted to put Proposition EE on the ballot.  The ballot measure would increase state taxes for cigarettes up to 9 cents per cigarettes and other tobacco products up to 22 percent, as well as creating a new tax for electronic cigarettes and other vaping products. Once fully phased in, the estimated annual increase in revenue is $294 million. 

Oregon Measure 108
CCAGW Position: Oppose

The Oregon legislature passed a bill to put Measure 108 on the ballot.  It would increase the state’s excise tax by $2.00, or 150 percent, from $1.33 to $3.33 per pack of cigarettes.  It would also tax electronic cigarettes and other nicotine products at 65 percent, and raise the cigar tax cap.  It is estimated that the excise tax on cigarettes alone will bring in in $160 million annually. 

Budget

Under current law in Maryland, the governor submits a proposed operating budget to be approved by the General Assembly.  The legislature can decrease funding for all three branches of government and increase funding only for the legislative and judicial branches. 

Maryland Question 1
CCAGW Position: Oppose

If this measure is approved, then the General Assembly will be able to increase or add funding in the operating budget as long as the total funding does not exceed the governor’s proposed budget.  It would give legislative authority to the Maryland General Assembly to handle the state budget and strip the governor of his or her budgetary power.  This is a cause for concern because funds could be misused for purposes that are not in favor of taxpayers.  Governor Larry Hogan (R) opposes Question 1.

Search and Seize Warrants

Michigan Proposal 2
CCAGW Position: Support

This measure would amend the Michigan constitution to require a search warrant to access an individual’s electronic data and communications.  It would also prohibit unreasonable searches and seizures of people’s private electronic data and communications.  This would protect the privacy of individuals as government officials would have to obtain a warrant under the same conditions required to search a person’s house or seize belongings. 

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